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Eight-year-old Lily recently became the first patient at Levine Children’s Hospital to experience CinemaVision – a new technique being offered to eligible patients having MRI scans in the hospital’s radiology department. The system using special goggles that can display a movie and keep patients entertained, rather than waiting anxiously for a procedure to be completed.
The state-of-the-art virtual entertainment system allows patients to relax during an MRI, by watching their favorite movie. “Having an MRI is not bad at all,” Lily says. “All I had to do was watch a movie.”
MRIs are noisy and require patients to lie still for long periods of time. While this can be challenging and stressful for an adult, it’s even more so for a pediatric patient, who may not be aware of what’s happening and why the MRI is necessary. Previously, many children had to be sedated during the procedure, in order to keep them from being frightened and agitated.
“The patients that have used CinemaVision have been able to get through their MRI scan without sedation and are enjoying being able to pick out their favorite movie or bring their favorite one from home,” says Christy Everhart, a child life specialist in Levine Children’s Hospital’s radiology department. CinemaVision turns having an MRI into a more pleasant experience.
“Children are able to hold still,” Christy says. “And the machine and equipment in the room seems less scary to the children because they are able to focus on getting set up for CinemaVision, which serves as a distraction for any nerves or anxiety they may have.”
In addition to the goggles, the system also includes headphones and a microphone, which allows MRI technicians to check in on the patient and the patient to ask questions during the procedure.
CinemaVision is funded entirely through donations, thanks to the generosity of the Dreamcatcher Society, a giving society established at Carolinas HealthCare Foundation in 2004.